• scissors
    June 28th, 2011adminActivism, Istanbul, Parties & Night Life

    Gay Pride Parade, passing a Catholic cathedral on Istiklal. Quite a sight!

    It is remarkable to attend a Gay Pride Parade in a majority-Muslim country. I believe Turkey is the only country that can claim such a thing… Though “gay pride” is certainly NOT widely accepted.

    Hell yes!

    For many years, I attended San Francisco Pride, perhaps the most famous Pride event in the world. But Istanbul Pride felt very different. The biggest contract was the audience/non-participants. Whereas, in San Francisco, the audience members are a wild, effusive and diverse crowd, the crowd in Istanbul looked generally confused… many  people did not know what to make of the radically queer gay men and brazen, unapologetic lesbians…

    Interviewing an out Turkish gay man, in English and Turkish

    The message and “feeling” of Istanbul Pride was also different — in a sense, more basic. Rather than the highly commercialized bacchanalia of San Francisco Pride, Istanbul Pride was a demand for acknowledgment (and a celebration of sexual identity, being queer and having fun!).

    My friend

    My fabulous former flatmate, Angela, from Barri, Italy. I miss her lasagna with all my heart.

    As I mentioned, the public reaction interested me the most, so here are some photos I took of confused, “every day” Turks:

    Looking down at the parade, in amusement

    Disapproving glares from the mosque

    I wonder what is going through his head...

    Shoppers at the mall

    And, here are some more general PRIDE PHOTOS — enjoy!

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  • scissors

    On Istiklal Caddesi

    Child labor is not a secret here. It plainly happens. Children roast nuts, play accordions, sell rice from wheeled street carts, and hawk kerchiefs. Two days ago, I found this beautiful, young girl on Istiklal Caddesi, a main boulevard that runs down the “heart” of Istanbul. As you can see, she was singing a song, which I don’t know. And, as she played, there was something very sad and touching about her body language. Even as she worked like an adult — performing for change — her body language was so childish.

    She can’t be more than seven years old.

    Can you see the "United Colors of Benetton" storefront in the window's reflection? As a store known for its politically-correct ad campaigns, there is something unsettling about a child street performer, working a mere few feet away.

    Another child musician, probably from the same family, offers to take over (a "shift change").

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